Iran could export its first LNG cargoes as early as next year – if it presses ahead with its proposed floating LNG (FLNG) production project.
National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC) has signed a contract with joint venture company IFLNG to deploy a 500,000 tonne FLNG barge to liquefy Iranian gas, and store and transfer the cargoes.
IFLNG is a joint venture between Helma Vantage of Norway and Iran’s Kharg Gas Refining Co. They are talking to Belgium-based shipowner Exmar about a short-term charter for Caribbean FLNG.
Analyst BMI says that the US$600M project would be “insignificant” in terms of volume – but would help Iran to deepen its integration with partners in Asia and Europe and build up the country’s experience in LNG trade and marketing.
“Iran could export its first LNG by the end of 2018, following an agreement to deploy the Exmar-owned Caribbean FLNG at Pars Service Port on Kharg Island,” BMI said.
Exmar has declined to comment. However, BMI argues that – subject to financing and securing the vessel – the Kharg/Helma project could be ready to operate “in a short period”.
“Iran offers one of the fastest options to employ and monetise the currently redundant Caribbean FLNG vessel,” BMI said. “The facility was constructed to process natural gas, which has a high methane content of 97.6%.
“While the gas feed from South Pars is far wetter, with greater gas liquids and condensate content, methane from flared gas at nearby offshore projects is the targeted supply.”